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These days it’s not just teenagers who are turning to braces for a more confident smile. Patients of all ages are embracing orthodontic treatment and the benefits of a beautifully aligned smile. One thing they’re not so keen on, however, is the prospect of months or possibly years wearing metal train track braces. Thankfully though, these are no longer their only option.
The term ‘invisible braces’ has become a popular buzzword within the world of orthodontics. It’s used to describe a range of braces that come in various shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common: they’re incredibly discreet. As you’ve probably guessed, they’re not actually invisible, but some are so inconspicuous that only your orthodontist will know you’re wearing them.
Lingual means ‘tongue side’ so you can guess where these braces are cleverly hidden? That’s right, on the back surfaces of your teeth! Lingual braces have been around since the 70s, but they’ve recently seen a resurgence in popularity. While early lingual braces were relatively cumbersome, today’s can be custom-made to closely fit the contours of your teeth to provide a much-improved patient experience.
eBrace is a type of lingual brace that features both custom-made brackets and wires – and you can even choose the material that your brace is made from. In the past, lingual braces were best suited to straightforward cases, but now they can be used to treat most orthodontic problems, including crowding, spacing and bite problems.
eBrace Visual is a type of lingual brace that’s been specially designed to straighten the front teeth. It fits behind your front six or eight teeth, making it a quick and cost-effective alternative to the ‘full works’. It won’t change the way your back teeth bite together, but it’s perfect if you’re looking to straighten the teeth that show when you smile.
Lingual braces are the most discreet brace on the market, but not every orthodontist offers them. They require a high level of expertise and specialist tools, which means they can be more expensive than other types of braces. To find your nearest eBrace provide, click here.
Clear aligners are another popular invisible brace. They straighten teeth using a sequence of custom-made plastic aligners. You can take them in and out to eat, drink and brush your teeth, but otherwise you need to keep wearing them, so they can do their job!
Some patients love the convenience of a brace they can remove, while for others it provides the temptation to take it out too often, or worse still, for their brace to go missing. In terms of discreetness, clear aligners aren’t hidden in the same way that lingual braces are, but they are still difficult to spot unless you’re face-to-face with someone.
Clear aligners have also got better at straightening teeth over the years. However, they don’t offer the same degree of control as a fixed brace, and they’re usually not the best option if your teeth need to be moved vertically or are severely rotated.
In some cases, your orthodontist will be able to attach small ‘buttons’ to your teeth to help achieve more difficult movements. These can make your clear aligners slightly more visible, but still very inconspicuous compared to conventional braces.
Clear fixed braces
Clear fixed braces are train track braces, but not as you may know them! Instead of metal, they feature clear or sometimes tooth-coloured brackets, which subtly blend in with your teeth. Some clear braces also have white wires, for added ‘invisibility’.
They’re probably the most noticeable invisible brace, but compared to their metal counterparts still very discreet. Looks aside, they work just like a traditional brace and they can treat a wide range of complaints, including complex problems. Like lingual braces, some clear braces have been specially designed to treat simple cases involving just the front teeth.
Sometimes clear braces can be more affordable than lingual braces and clear aligners. One reason for this is that they’re not usually custom-made, so the cost of your brace itself is lower.
With any brace, it’s important to look after it carefully, along with your teeth, throughout your treatment. Invisible braces which rely on clear aligners or clear/tooth coloured brackets can become more visible if you eat or drink the wrong things and don’t keep your brace clean.
Keeping your teeth straight (discreetly)
With any kind of orthodontic treatment, including invisible braces, it’s important to maintain your results once your brace comes off. Otherwise, your teeth will have a tendency to start moving, undoing all your hard work. Luckily, retainers, which are used to hold your teeth in their new position, are also very unobtrusive. To find out more, visit our blog on keeping teeth straight.